Postcard: Ballarat Winter Festival

We are guests of Visit Ballarat and have had all our accommodation, meals and entry covered generously by all these businesses…thank you! I love being able to share travel tales from different parts of this country – especially in regional centres like Ballarat.

Yesterday we hit the road early into a dark and dreary day…the rain was falling and things were not looking much better in the direction of Ballarat where we were headed for the next 2 days. Of course this gave me ample opportunity to discuss the weather at length, which obviously is my favourite thing to do AND look up the history of Ballarat and read it out to my disinterested family.

First stop was to The Art Gallery of Ballarat where I was really impressed with their fabulous collection of Australian art – from old to new it was truly worth looking at if you like art.

Maggie spent a lot of time climbing and running around.

The weather was getting worse outside…a huge thunderstorm and icy wind and rain hit which was not looking good for our afternoon planned at Sovereign Hill and what the girls were really looking forward to most. We took cover for lunch at a great cafe next to the gallery, Kittely’s where we tucked into coffees and hot chocs and soup with superior sourdough.

There was nothing for us to do but hide out as the weather closed in even further – torrential rain and icy, icy wind before we checked into our accommodation at Twelve Errard where we are staying in a huge and very comfortable 3 bedroom apartment…the girls were STOKED to have their own rooms and fancy ones at that!

It wasn’t long before we saw that the weather was clearing so we packed up, rugged up and headed off to our afternoon and evening at Sovereign Hill.

Rob and I both visited here as kids and had such great memories of it. Good, old fashioned family fun with a touch of piss weak world but we were impressed at what great shape it is in. Man, such good memories of these kind of theme parks like Australia’s Wonderland, Old Sydney town…THIS is the stuff you remember as kids….and this place did not disappoint. While it was wet and bloody cold, we spent the afternoon wandering around, taking in the history and gold tours (Daisy especially into it all as she studied it at School last year). Maggie loved it to, the horses and chickens of course, the darkness of the underground gold mine tour not so much!

As the sun set and tiredness took over we took shelter in the Winter festival tent for some mulled wine (us) and snacks for the kids before the light show began at 5.45pm. This light show is running for the whole month of July and truly was such a treat for all of us. You couldn’t help but get swept into the magic and be taken back to your own wonder and childhood…magical lights and snow! Honestly, everyone was excited and happy…the lights, snow, Christmas trees and carols…it was magical. The girls will remember this for some time…

We were done and dusted by 6.30pm and home to thaw out and get 3 exhausted girls to bed. All that wholesome family time required Prosecco, stat as Rob and I sat back and patted our backs for banking some great family memories. So good.

We visited:
The Art Gallery of Ballarat
Kittley’s Cafe
Twelve Errard Apartments
Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights Festival

Have you ever been to Sovereign Hill?
Got any insider tips for travel to Ballarat?


  1. We visited Ballarat & Soverign Hill many years ago when our big kids were little kids & we loved it! I always feel like Ballarat is a place I could live….

  2. Ballarat is the bomb. Make sure you check out the upholstery gallery!!! So much to do during the winter fest!

  3. How completely lovely, aside from the wild weather!

    That soup looks incredible, especially with superior sourdough for mopping, and then Sovereign Hill. GOOD TIMES!!

    Did you score any humbugs??

  4. You’re definitely making me want to take the kids on a trip to Ballarat & Sovereign Hill. They would adore that winter wonderlights festival. So pretty!!!

  5. Love this Beth. I’m a Ballarat girl born and bred and it’s always lovely to look at your home town through different eyes. We did the Sovereign Hill snow experience last year, and I was blown away by it. Adults and kids alike just loved it. If you in for some retail therapy, just around the corner from your accomodation is the Upholstery Gallery and it’s fab. Safe travels x

  6. Caroline says

    We did the identical trip about 4 years ago with my boys to relive my childhood memories of Sovereign Hill. It certainly didn’t disappoint. I did not however enjoy the icy chill of Ballarat – I recall the only way I could get warm enough was to stand under a searing hot shower. That being said, I don’t think Ballarat would be quite in searing heat. Enjoy the rest of the trip – your photos are stunning as always.

Speak Your Mind